What Was the Battle of the Bulge?

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  • Written By: L. S. Wynn
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 January 2020
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The "Battle of the Bulge" is the popular name for the Ardennes Offensive during World War II. German forces began the attack through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium en route to a planned siege of Antwerp. The German plan was code-named "Wacht am Rhein" or "Watch on the Rhine" as a means of deceiving the Allies into thinking that it would be defensive in nature. Later, the offensive was renamed to "Autumn Mist".

The forest is mountainous and dense and due to poor weather, the German advance in the early stages of the battle was swift. The advance began on 16 December 1944, and after about a week, they had made good progress to Bastogne. General Anthony McAuliffe was given an offer to surrender by the Germans to which he gave a simple reply: "NUTS!".

By Christmas, the German advance was beginning to lose steam due to fuel and ammunition shortages. The weather began to improve which gave the Allies better opportunities to attack with aircraft. The tide began to turn, and by 13 January, German forces retreated from Bastogne.

The "Battle of the Bulge" officially ended on 27 January 1945 - more than one million men on both sides participated in the fighting. The allies lost 76,000 men (mostly Americans) and Germany lost 67,000. By late 1944, the Axis powers were clearly losing the war, and the failure of this final offensive all but ended their hopes.


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